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Backed By Our Team of Building Science Experts

Commercial Newsletter

Owens Corning leverages our team of building science experts to develop industry-leading energy-saving and moisture management insulation solutions. Backed by more than 70 years of proven research and development experience, our building science team provides advanced technical, product application, and local and state building code knowledge to our commercial foam insulation customers.

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Browse the entire list or select a category from this list:

Applications, General

Applications, Foundations, Below grade

Applications, Below Concrete Slab

Applications, Walls

Applications, Roof Systems

Adhesives, Tapes, Sealants and Paints

Agriculture and Livestock Buildings

Standards, Materials, Testing

Energy Standards, Certifications

LEED

Codes and Fire Ratings

Environmental

Properties and Warranties

 

Applications, General

Q: What are the typical applications for FOAMULAR® rigid foam board insulation?

A: FOAMULAR® Insulation is used in many residential and commercial construction applications. Its uses range from below grade in foundations, to under concrete slabs, to all types of wall construction (steel and wood stud, masonry and concrete), and in commercial roofing systems.

A: FOAMULAR® Insulation offers superior performance for a wide range of applications including:

  • basement walls and other below ground structures, particularly where ground water is present
  • frost protected shallow foundations
  • concrete floors, including those with high load traffic and/or storage such as industrial floors and cold storage floors
  • walls, including steel and wood frame, and masonry walls
  • low-slope roofs, including ballasted, mechanically attached, and fully adhered systems, protected roof membranes systems, roof terraces, green roofs and parking decks
  • pitched roofs with metal or shingle coverings
  • wind energy, windmill blade cores
  • agricultural and livestock buildings
  • frost protection for roads, railways and other civil engineering works
  • composite panel cores, such as those for refrigeration and walk-in coolers

Q: How can I get a sample of FOAMULAR® insulation?

A: There are several sources. Contact your local FOAMULAR® Insulation sales agent by using the “Find a Sales Rep” feature of this website, or, use the “Contact Us” feature to send an e-mail or call 1-800-GET-PINK™.

Q: What fasteners are recommended for FOAMULAR® applications?

A: It depends on the application. In sheathing applications screws for steel or wood studs are used with plastic washers or large bugle heads to hold the foam. In masonry cavity walls, the masonry brick ties often have clips or hooks as part of their design that hold the foam board in place in the cavity. In exterior insulation finish systems (EIFS), screws with special plastic washers that cover the head of the steel screw are often used. The plastic cover minimizes thermal shorting or “ghosting” of the screw head through the EIFS coating. In roofing systems, foam board is held in place over steel decking by screws with 2” or 3” stress plates. For roofing systems the amount and placement of fasteners is often dictated by roof system performance listings through Underwriters Laboratories or Factory Mutual. Over concrete roof decking, rather than fasteners, low rise polyurethane adhesives are often used to secure FOAMULAR® Insulation.

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Applications, Foundations, Below grade

Q: Can FOAMULAR® be used in commercial exterior foundations?

A: Yes. FOAMULAR® provides excellent water resistance and R-value retention in below grade use. It also protects foundation waterproofing and dampproofing from damage during backfill. If a solvent based foundation treatment is used, allow the coating to fully cured, and solvents to dissipate before placing FOAMULAR®. Polystyrene may be damaged by solvent base materials. This caution is not necessary with water based emulsions.

Q: Can FOAMULAR® be used over foundation dampproofing?

A: Yes. FOAMULAR® provides excellent water resistance and R-value retention in below grade use. It also protects foundation waterproofing and dampproofing from damage during backfill. If a solvent based foundation treatment is used, allow the coating to fully cured, and solvents to dissipate before placing FOAMULAR®. Polystyrene may be damaged by solvent base materials. This caution is not necessary with water based emulsions.

Q: Does Owens Corning make a foundation drainage board product?

A: Yes. INSUL-DRAIN® FOAMULAR® Extruded Polystyrene Insulation insulates the foundation wall, and, enhances drainage through a network of surface channels that are protected by a laminated filtration fabric, as well as provides protection for waterproofing or dampproofing on the wall during backfill.

Q: Can FOAMULAR® be used as the core of a foundation panel?

A: Yes. Some manufacturers use FOAMULAR® as the core of structural insulated panels (SIP) used most commonly for above grade walls. Below grade use as a foundation panel requires proper structural design and water protection. Consult with a SIP manufacturer for available options.

Q: Can FOAMULAR® be left exposed in a basement wall application?

A: No. To comply with building codes, all foam plastics must be covered with a 15 minute thermal barrier. Gypsum board, ½” thick is a common covering.

Q: Can FOAMULAR® be used as interior basement wall insulation?

A: Yes, but to comply with building codes, all foam plastics must be covered with a 15 minute thermal barrier. Gypsum board, ½” thick is a common covering.

Q: Can FOAMULAR® be used under a basement wall?

A: It is not recommended unless a professional architect or engineer is involved. Although FOAMULAR® has significant compressive strength, building loads, safety factors and long term compressive creep and building movement must all be considered when using FOAMULAR® in this structural application.

Q: Can FOAMULAR® be used in insulating shallow foundations?

A: Yes. FOAMULAR®, an extruded polystyrene (XPS) insulation, is permitted for use in design standard ASCE 32, “Design and Construction of Frost Protected Shallow Foundations”. Unlike expanded polystyrene insulation, XPS is permitted in both horizontal wing and vertical wall applications in ASCE 32.

Q: What is Owens Corning recommendation to address termite concerns?

A: Follow applicable building codes in your area that have been designed to minimize the risk of infestation. Infestation is primarily a concern in California and in the southeastern United States that have been designated as having “very heavy” infestation probability. See Section 2603.8 of the 2006 International Building Code, and Section R320.5 of the 2006 International Residential Code for complete details on ground treatment, baiting systems, resistant wood, inspection spaces, physical barriers and shields, and exceptions for non-wood or pressure treated wood buildings, and for insulation placed inside foundation/basement walls.

Be wary of foam plastic boards that claim to be “insect resistant”. Many insect resistance treatment techniques rely on water soluble additives that become ineffective over time and after prolonged exposure to ground water. Also, termites may travel behind treated boards, between the board and the foundation wall. In that case, the board treatment cannot work, while the board shields the insect path of travel. Following code requirements for ground treatment, clearance and physical barriers is the best protection.

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Applications, Below Concrete Slab

Q: Can FOAMULAR® be used under commercial concrete floor slabs?

A: Yes. FOAMULAR® is available in a wide range of compressive strengths suitable for virtually all commercial slab applications. Compressive and foundation modulus data is available to enable the FOAMULAR® substrate to be matched with the slab structural properties so that together the floor layers will adequately support loads in commercial building uses.

Q: Can FOAMULAR® support radiant floor heating application(s)?

A: Yes, FOAMULAR® is commonly used under slabs containing radiant heating systems. It is an excellent choice due to its high R-value, water resistance, and compressive strength, all suited for below slab use.

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Applications, Walls

Q: Can FOAMULAR® be installed directly against steel studs?

A: Yes. FOAMULAR® is an excellent choice for use as continuous insulation (ci) directly against steel studs. When using FOAMULAR® or any other type of non-structural sheathing (foam, gypsum) the steel stud framing must be independently braced against lateral and rotational forces. See Underwriters Laboratories wall assemblies V414 and V434 for fire rating details with FOAMULAR® applied directly to steel studs.

Q: What products does Owens Corning recommend to be used in a wall construction consisting of a brick veneer and steel frame?

A: The steel stud cavities should be insulated with Owens Corning fiber glass batts, either Thermal Batt insulation or Flame Spread 25 insulation depending on the type of building construction, and the type of facer needed to comply with building code flame spread requirements. Batt facings have different perm ratings that should be considered to suit the particular building conditions. Also, a FOAMULAR® insulating sheathing product should be installed over the steel studs to create a layer of continuous insulation. FOAMULAR® 150 or 250 may be used as sheathing. Also consider FOAMULAR® INSULPINK® and PROPINK® sheathings, both of which are reinforced with facers to increase strength.

Q: Can FOAMULAR® be used between wood studs?

A: It can but is generally not the preferred method of installation. FOAMULAR® is not manufactured in sizes that fit readily between wood studs. Therefore it must be field cut to fit. There are other insulation products such as Owens Corning Thermal Batt Insulation that is more efficiently utilized between wood studs.

Q: Does FOAMULAR® used as sheathing on the exterior of a wall create a double vapor retarder?

A: It may seem that it would because it is perceived to be “impermeable plastic”, but, when considered in the context of the wall, generally, it does not. All sheathing materials resist moisture vapor penetration to some degree. So, in that regard, all sheathings are a “vapor retarder”, that are often used opposite an internal vapor retarder, thus creating a “double vapor retarder”. To really assess, it is important to differentiate a couple of key properties, perm rating and R-value. 1” FOAMULAR® sheathing actually has a vapor permeance (1.1 perm) that is higher (passes more water vapor) than the commonly accepted definition of a vapor retarder (1.0 perm), and, higher than ½” OSB (0.70 perm), commonly perceived as an acceptable sheathing. So, from that perspective alone, FOAMULAR® passes more water vapor (is less of a vapor retarder) than does commonly accepted OSB sheathing. Then, consider the fact that FOAMULAR® is an insulating sheathing, having an R-value of 5 per inch. An insulating sheathing keeps the wall stud cavity warmer. Warmer air and surfaces are less likely to experience condensation than colder air/surfaces at any given level of humidity. So, FOAMULAR® insulating sheathing, that is also semi-permeable, is not a “double vapor retarder” concern.

Q: How can moisture be managed in a steel stud wall assembly?

A: FOAMULAR® 250 continuous insulation sheathing and Owens Corning fiber glass batt insulation are important parts of managing moisture in steel stud wall assemblies. Moisture can intrude in at least three different ways: 1) air infiltration, 2) pressurized liquid moisture driven from outside, and 3) vapor permeation and condensation from outside or inside depending on conditions. FOAMULAR® sheathing with well sealed joints is very resistant to air infiltration and pressurized liquid moisture from outside. FOAMULAR® also keeps the stud cavity warmer so that dew point temperatures are shifted to points in the wall where condensation won’t occur or where it can drain away harmlessly. Well sealed facers on fiber glass batt insulation help limit air infiltration and vapor permeation from the inside.

Q: Can FOAMULAR® insulation be installed with Z-furring strips?

A: Yes. FOAMULAR® INSULPINK® is made with channels into which wood furring strips are inserted, and FOAMULAR® INSULPINK®-Z is made to fit tightly between steel Z furring spaced 24” on center.

Q: How long can FOAMULAR® be left exposed to the weather?

A: FOAMULAR® can be exposed to the exterior during normal construction cycles. During that time some fading of color may begin due to UV exposure, and, if exposed for extended periods of time, some degradation or “dusting” of the polystyrene surface may begin. It is best if the product is covered within 60 days to minimize degradation. Once covered, the deterioration stops, and damage is limited to the thin top surface layers of cells. Cells below are generally unharmed and still useful insulation.

Q: Can FOAMULAR® be left exposed in exterior applications?

A: FOAMULAR® can be exposed to the exterior during normal construction cycles. During that time some fading of color may begin due to UV exposure, and, if exposed for extended periods of time, some degradation or “dusting” of the polystyrene surface may begin. It is best if the product is covered within 60 days to minimize degradation. Once covered, the deterioration stops, and damage is limited to the thin top surface layers of cells. Cells below are generally unharmed and still useful insulation.

Q: Can FOAMULAR® be left exposed in interior applications?

A: No. To comply with building codes, all foam plastics must be covered with a 15 minute thermal barrier. Gypsum board, ½” thick is a common covering.

Q: Can I use FOAMULAR® insulation on a brick ledge to support a brick wall?

A: It is not recommended. All foam plastics have long term creep characteristics that may exceed the deflection limits needed to adequately support brick walls.

Q: What products does Owens Corning recommend for concrete sandwich wall applications?

A: FOAMULAR® 250 Extruded Polystyrene Insulation, ASTM C578 Type IV. FOAMULAR® 250 has a compressive strength of 25 psi maximum that is adequate for non-composite insulated concrete sandwich wall panels. Composite wall design may need an insulation core of different strength. Consult with a structural engineer for recommendations.

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Applications, Roof Systems

Q: What Owens Corning FOAMULAR® Insulation products are recommended for commercial roofing applications?

A: FOAMULAR® THERMAPINK® (18, 25 or 40) is used in traditional low slope commercial roof applications where the insulation is placed below the roofing membrane. FOAMULAR® 404 and 604 are used in protected roof membrane assemblies (PRMA) where the insulation is placed above the roof membrane to insulate and protect it from environmental extremes. FOAMULAR® 404Rb and 604RB with ribs on the top surface are used in PRMA roofs where concrete pavers are used. The ribs provide drainage channels under the pavers.

Q: Can FOAMULAR® be used in a Built-Up-Roof (BUR)?

A: Yes. Due to the temperatures at which BUR layers are installed, FOAMULAR® must be covered with a protection board layer before BUR layers are installed. Common protection boards include gypsum and high density wood fiber, usually with joints taped to prevent hot asphalt from seeping down into the polystyrene layers.

Q: What are the typical methods to achieve a Class A rated roof assembly for FOAMULAR® Insulation?

A: Class A (the best) fire resistance rating is based on ASTM E108 testing of fire spread, and in the case of wood decks, penetration, on the top side of roofs. Ratings are based on complete assembly performance and depend on variables such as deck type, membrane type and the slope of the roof. Commonly extruded polystyrene insulation products have some type of cover placed over them before the roofing membrane is installed. Cover materials include board products like gypsum or high density wood fiber. Or, depending on the type of membrane, a slip sheet may be used.

Q: What is PMR?

A: Protected membrane roof. Also known as PRMA or IRMA.

Q: What is IRMA? What is PRMA

A: IRMA is a Dow Chemical trademark name that refers to the concept of a protected membrane roof. PRMA is a generic reference to the same type of roof. IRMA = Inverted Roof Membrane Assembly. PRMA = Protected Roof Membrane Assembly.

Q: What is the major difference between a protected roof membrane assembly (PRMA) and a conventional roof?

A: Conventional roofs place the insulation below the waterproofing membrane keeping the insulation dry but exposing the membrane to temperature extremes and weathering. PRMA roofs place the insulation on top of the waterproofing membrane to protect it from extreme temperatures, ultra-violet light exposure and exposure to foot traffic and other physical abuse. Because PRMA roofs expose the insulation to water, only extruded polystyrene insulation products like FOAMULAR® 404, 604, 404RB and 604RB are used because of their excellent resistance to water absorption and their retention of R-value when exposed to water and freeze/thaw cycles.

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Adhesives, Tapes, Sealants and Paints

Q: What adhesives are recommended for FOAMULAR® applications?

A: Use readily available adhesives that are marked suitable for use with foam board, or, specifically, suitable for use with polystyrene foam board. Adhesives should be avoided that contain solvent materials as they will dissolve polystyrene insulation boards.

Q: Do I need to caulk or tape the seams of FOAMULAR® insulation?

A: It depends on the application and the plan of the design professional. Reasons for sealing seams include to create an air infiltration barrier, or, to create a moisture infiltration barrier. If FOAMULAR® is relied upon to create an air and/or moisture barrier, then joints should be sealed. However, due to penetrations and other practical considerations, it is often more efficient to install air/moisture barrier layers elsewhere in the assembly rather than try to seal FOAMULAR® joints.

Q: What is the recommended caulk or sealant for use with FOAMULAR® applications?

A: Silicon or latex based sealants are compatible with polystyrene. Sealants or caulks that contain solvents should be avoided. Check the label or with the manufacturer for the compatibility of an individual caulk/sealant with polystyrene.

Q: What paints or coats can be used with FOAMULAR® insulation?

A: Generally there are two types of paints, latex and alkyd. Both are compatible with polystyrene. Alkyd paint is also known as oil-based paint. Latex paints contain softer vinyl resins (binders) and more water. Before considering painting foam surfaces, remember that building codes require all foam plastics to be covered with a fire protective barrier like gypsum board.

Q: What insulation tapes are recommended for FOAMULAR® insulation?

A: Use tapes that are recommended by their manufacturer for the application desired. Perform an internet search using key words “construction tape” or “building tape” for recommendations.

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Agriculture and Livestock Buildings

Q: What building codes do agricultural buildings have to comply with?

A: Agricultural buildings are usually given certain exemptions from building codes due to the low hazard nature of their use. For example, Section 312.1 of the 2006 International Building Code says, “…(agricultural buildings) shall be constructed, equipped and maintained to conform to the requirements of this code commensurate with the fire and life hazard incidental to their occupancy…”. That statement gives some leeway to forego code requirements that are inappropriate for the use, but, always verify plans with local code officials before proceeding.

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Standards, Materials, Testing

Q: What is ASTM C578?

A: ASTM C578, Standard Specification for Rigid, Cellular Polystyrene Thermal Insulation, is the industry consensus standard that defines minimum properties for rigid polystyrene insulation products, both extruded polystyrene (XPS) and expanded polystyrene (EPS).

Q: What FOAMULAR® products meet ASTM C578 standards? 

A: All FOAMULAR® rigid board insulation products are manufactured to comply with ASTM C578. In the case of products laminated with facers, the core complies, but the standard does not cover the additional properties of laminated/faced products.

Q: What are the ASTM C578 classifications for FOAMULAR® insulation products?

A: In general, FOAMULAR® 150, ASTM C578 Type X. FOAMULAR® 250, Type IV. FOAMULAR® 400, Type VI. FOAMULAR® 600, Type VII. FOAMULAR® 1000 Insulation, Type V. Owens Corning manufactures many variations of FOAMULAR® products. See the Guide Specification on our web site entitled “Standard Specification for Rigid, Cellular Polystyrene Thermal Insulation” for a complete roster of FOAMULAR® products and their ASTM C578 type designation.

Q: What are the physical property requirements for different ASTM C578 types related to extruded polystyrene insulation?

A: See ASTM C 578, Table 1 for a complete listing of all properties and all minimum or maximum values depending on the particular property. Also see the Guide Specification on our web site entitled “Standard Specification for Rigid, Cellular Polystyrene Thermal Insulation” for a copy of ASTM C578, Table 1.

Q: What is CAN/ULC S102.2?

A: CAN/ULC S102.2 is a Canadian standard entitled, “Surface Burning Characteristics of Flooring, Floor Covering and Miscellaneous Materials”. The primary purpose of the test is to determine the comparative burning characteristics of a given material by evaluating the flame spread over its surface when exposed to a test fire, establishing a basis on which surface burning characteristics of different materials or assemblies may be compared, without specific considerations of all the end-use parameters that might affect these characteristics. This method is applicable to the finished surface or covering of a floor. It may also be applied to materials that cannot conveniently be tested in a ceiling mounted configuration. Thermoplastic and loose fill materials might be included in this category.

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Energy Standards, Certifications

Q: What Owens Corning products are Energy Star® qualified?

A: Owens Corning produces fiber glass insulation, FOAMULAR® extruded polystyrene insulation and roofing shingles that are ENERGY STAR qualified products. ENERGY STAR products use less energy, save money, and help protect the environment. For more information visit www.energystar.gov and www.owenscorning.com.

Q: Where can I locate a climate zone map?

A: The climate zones map used in current energy codes such as ASHRAE 90.1, 90.2 and the IECC can be downloaded from the Building Energy Codes Resource Center at http://resourcecenter.pnl.gov/cocoon/morf/ResourceCenter/article/1420.

Q: What is ASHRAE 90.1?

A: ASHRAE Standard 90.1, “Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings” is the standard used widely in the USA for defining minimum energy performance criteria for new and substantially altered commercial building construction. The national voluntary consensus standard, published every 3 years and often adopted into local law, is developed under the auspices of ASHRAE, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers, Inc. See many descriptive technical bulletins regarding ASHRAE 90.1 in the “Technical Info & Literature” section of this website.

Q: What is the difference between ASHRAE 90.1 2004 and ASHRAE 90.1.2007 for below grade wall insulation requirements?

A: See the table for prescriptive insulation requirements for the two editions of the ASHRAE 90.1 standard.

ASHRAE 90.1 Prescriptive R Requirements for
“Below Grade Wall”

Climate Zone 

2004 Edition

2007 Edition

Non-Residential

Residential

Non-Residential

Residential

1

NR

NR

NR

NR

2

NR

NR

NR

NR

3

NR

NR

NR

NR

4

NR

NR

NR

7.5

5

NR

NR

7.5

7.5

6

NR

7.5

7.5

7.5

7

7.5

7.5

7.5

10.0

8

7.5

7.5

7.5

12.5

Q: What is the difference between ASHRAE 90.1-2004 and ASHRAE 90.1-2007 for steel stud wall insulation requirements?

A: See the table provided for prescriptive insulation requirements from the two editions of the ASHRAE 90.1 standard.

ASHRAE 90.1 Prescriptive R Requirements for
“Steel Framed Walls, Above Grade”

ZONE

ASHRAE 90.1 - 2004

ASHRAE 90.1 - 2007

Non-Residential

Residential

Non-Residential

Residential

1

13

13

13

13

2

13

13

13

13 + 7.5

3

13

13 + 3.8

13 + 3.8

13 + 7.5

4

13

13 + 7.5

13 + 7.5

13 + 7.5

5

13 + 3.8

13 + 7.5

13 + 7.5

13 + 7.5

6

13 + 3.8

13 + 7.5

13 + 7.5

13 + 7.5

7

13 + 7.5

13 + 7.5

13 + 7.5

13 + 15.6

8

13 + 7.5

13 + 10.0

13 + 7.5

13 + 18.8

The steel framed table shows prescribed stud cavity R value as the first number, and continuous insulation R as the second number. (Example: 13 + 7.5)

For purposes of ASHRAE 90.1, “residential” is defined as multi-family structures greater than three (3) stories in height. “Non-residential” is defined as all occupancies other than residential. 90.1 also provides prescriptive insulation values for “semi-heated” buildings that are not shown.

Q: What is the difference between ASHRAE 90.1-2004 and ASHRAE 90.1-2007 for wood stud wall insulation requirements?

A: See the table provided for prescriptive insulation requirements from the two editions of the ASHRAE 90.1 standard.

ASHRAE 90.1 Prescriptive R Requirements for
“Wood Framed and Other Walls, Above Grade”

Climate Zone

ASHRAE 90.1 - 2004

ASHRAE 90.1 - 2007

Non-Residential

Residential

Non-Residential

Residential

1

13

13

13

13

2

13

13

13

13

3

13

13

13

13

4

13

13

13

13 + 3.8

5

13

13

13 + 3.8

13 + 7.5

6

13

13 + 3.8

13 + 7.5

13 + 7.5

7

13

13 + 7.5

13 + 7.5

13 + 7.5

8

13 + 7.5

13 + 7.5

13 + 15.6

13 + 15.6

The wood framed table shows prescribed stud cavity R value as the first number, and continuous insulation R as the second number. (Example: 13 + 7.5)

For purposes of ASHRAE 90.1, “residential” is defined as multi-family structures greater than three (3) stories in height. “Non-residential” is defined as all occupancies other than residential. 90.1 also provides prescriptive insulation values for “semi-heated” buildings that are not shown in these tables.

Q: What is the difference between ASHRAE 90.1-2004 and ASHRAE 90.1-2007 for mass wall insulation requirements?

A: See the table provided for prescriptive insulation requirements from the two editions of the ASHRAE 90.1 standard.

ASHRAE 90.1 Prescriptive R Requirements for

“Mass Walls, Above Grade”

ZONE

ASHRAE 90.1 - 2004

ASHRAE 90.1 - 2007

Non-Residential

Residential

Non-Residential

Residential

1

NR

5.7

NR

5.7

2

NR

5.7

5.7

7.6

3

5.7

7.6

7.6

9.5

4

5.7

9.5

9.5

11.4

5

7.6

11.4

11.4

13.3

6

9.5

11.4

13.3

15.2

7

11.4

13.3

15.2

15.2

8

13.3

15.2

15.2

25.0

Mass walls are defined as “a wall with an HC (heat capacity) exceeding:

(1) 7 Btu/ft² x ºF, or,

(2) 5 Btu/ft² provided that the wall has a material unit weight not greater than 120 lb/ft³.

Heat capacity is defined as “the amount of heat necessary to raise the temperature of a given mass 1ºF. Numerically, the HC per unit area of surface (Btu/ft² x ºF) is the sum of the products of the mass per unit area of each individual material in the roof, wall, or floor surface multiplied by its individual specific heat.

Q: What is the difference between ASHRAE 90.1-2004 and ASHRAE 90.1-2007 for roof insulation requirements?

A: See the table provided for prescriptive insulation requirements from the two editions of the ASHRAE 90.1 standard.

ASHRAE 90.1 Prescriptive R Requirements for
“Roof Insulation Entirely Above Deck”

Climate Zone 

2004 Edition

2007 Edition

Non-Residential

Residential

Non-Residential

Residential

1

15

15

15

20

2

15

15

20

20

3

15

15

20

20

4

15

15

20

20

5

15

15

20

20

6

15

15

20

20

7

15

15

20

20

8

20

20

20

20

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LEED®

Q: What is LEED

A: Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is a green building rating system developed by the U.S. Green Building Council. It is the leading national standard for defining green building.

Q: What is LEED certification?

A: LEED certification applies to an entire building project, including commercial construction, major renovations and high-rise residential buildings. LEED does not certify products. Certification for a building project is achieved by accumulating points based on meeting specific LEED design concept criteria. Across 6 design categories, 69 total points are available in the scoring system. Levels of certification are Certified 26-32 points, Silver 33-38, Gold 39-51, and the highest certification, Platinum 52-69.

Q: What are the total categories and points for LEED rating system for New Construction and Major Renovation?

A: Credits for Certification can be earned in six categories, Sustainable Sites (14 possible points), Water Efficiency (5), Energy & Atmosphere (17), Materials & Resources (13), Indoor Environmental Quality (15), and Innovation & Design Process (5). Generally, each category has multiple 1 point credits, each with a unique focus in sustainable design. Under the Energy & Atmosphere category, one credit for optimizing energy performance is worth up to 10 points depending on the level of energy efficiency the building achieves. Insulation usually plays a significant role in achieving that particular credit.

Q: How does the LEED rating system work in different buildings?

A: Credits for Certification can be earned in six categories, Sustainable Sites (14 possible points), Water Efficiency (5), Energy & Atmosphere (17), Materials & Resources (13), Indoor Environmental Quality (15), and Innovation & Design Process (5). Generally, each category has multiple 1 point credits, each with a unique focus in sustainable design. Under the Energy & Atmosphere category, one credit for optimizing energy performance is worth up to 10 points depending on the level of energy efficiency the building achieves. Insulation usually plays a significant role in achieving that particular credit.

Q: How does a project achieve LEED Certification?

A: Credits for Certification can be earned in six categories, Sustainable Sites (14 possible points), Water Efficiency (5), Energy & Atmosphere (17), Materials & Resources (13), Indoor Environmental Quality (15), and Innovation & Design Process (5). Generally, each category has multiple 1 point credits, each with a unique focus in sustainable design. Under the Energy & Atmosphere category, one credit for optimizing energy performance is worth up to 10 points depending on the level of energy efficiency the building achieves. Insulation usually plays a significant role in achieving that particular credit.

Q: How do FOAMULAR® products contribute to LEED points?

A: FOAMULAR® extruded polystyrene insulation plays a significant role in enabling sustainable building design concepts. The largest contribution is in the area of saving energy through insulating. Under the Energy & Atmosphere category, the credit for optimizing energy performance is worth up to 10 points depending on the level of energy efficiency the building achieves. Insulation is invaluable in meeting energy efficiency goals. Also, FOAMULAR’s® average of 15% recycled polystyrene content may contribute to the overall project requirement needed to gain 1 point if distance to manufacture and raw materials do not exceed 500 miles from the job site. And, the water resistance of FOAMULAR® in PRMA roofing systems enables the design of “green” or “vegetated” roof systems that help manage stormwater runoff from sites, helping scoring a point in the Sustainable Sites category.

Q: How do Owens Corning products get certified by LEED?

A: LEED does not certify products. LEED certification applies to an entire building project, including commercial construction, major renovations and high-rise residential buildings.

Q: How does a “green roof” with FOAMULAR® insulation contribute to LEED credits?

A: The water resistance of FOAMULAR® in PRMA roofing systems enables the design of “green” or “vegetated” roof systems that help manage stormwater runoff from sites, potentially scoring a point in the Sustainable Sites category.

Q: What is the recycle content of FOAMULAR® insulation?

A: 20% pre-consumer recycled polystyrene. FOAMULAR® extruded polystyrene insulation is certified annually by Scientific Certification Systems, an independent third party, to contain “at least 20% pre-consumer recycled polystyrene.” The FOAMULAR® certification can be viewed on-line at www.scscertified.com/ecoproducts/products/. FOAMULAR® has at times been produced with as much as 50% recycle content. However, Owens Corning chooses to make only claims that are both consistent and verifiable, rather than make claims “up to” a particular percentage. Owens Corning believes it is important to make recycle content claims that realistically represent our products, are reliable for the architect to specify, and that are consistent and verifiable. That is why we take the unprecedented annual step of voluntarily submitting our product and records to Scientific Certification Systems for their independent assessment of consistent and reliable recycle content. No other producer of extruded polystyrene has their products assessed in this manner.

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Codes and Fire Ratings

Q: What does a Class A, B and C rated roof assembly mean?

A: Class A, B and C are measures of a roof covering (membrane and insulation layers) ability to resist external surface flame spread, Class A being the best. If the roof deck is combustible (wood) then the test also involves two different types of penetration testing to assess risk of external fire sources reaching and igniting the combustible deck. Class A, B and C are determined by testing in accordance with AASTM E108, “Test Methods for Fire Tests of Roof Coverings.”

Q: What are FOAMULAR® direct-to-steel deck roofing assemblies?

A: “Direct-to-steel-deck” roofing assemblies have FOAMULAR® extruded polystyrene insulation installed directly over steel roof deck without a layer of gypsum board separating the insulation from the deck. For full system details listed by Underwriters Laboratories visit www.ul.com and see Roof Deck Construction #457. Testing for this category is done in accordance with UL 1256, “Fire Test of Roof Deck Construction”, a test that verifies limited flame spread under roof decks exposed to internal fire sources.

Q: What are the flame spread and smoke developed ratings for FOAMULAR®?

A: For all unfaced FOAMULAR® extruded polystyrene insulation products, surface burning characteristics are flame spread 5, and smoke developed 45-175 depending on thickness. Surface burning characteristics are determined in accordance with ASTM E84, “Test Methods for Surface Burning Characteristics of Building Materials.” Typical building code maximums are 75 flame spread and 450 smoke developed.

Q: What is the potential heat of FOAMULAR® Extruded Polystyrene Insulation?

A: Potential heat of any polystyrene insulation is determined by the amount of polystyrene contained in the board, which is a function of thickness and density. Polystyrene typically contains from 16,000 to 17,000 Btu’s per pound. So, for example, assuming 17,000 Btu’s per pound, a 2” thick FOAMULAR® board of 1.6 pcf density, contains approximately 4533 btu’s per square foot. Testing to determine potential heat is conducted in accordance with NFPA 259, ”Test Method for Potential Heat of Building Materials.”

Q: What type of testing does Owens Corning use to measure heat resistance in Foamular XPS insulation?

A: Foamular Extruded Polystyrene Insulation has been tested in accordance with ASTM D1929 (NFPA 259) “Standard Test Method for Potential Heat of Building Materials”. The test measures the potential heat of the raw polystyrene resin. Test results vary from sample to sample, but, commonly it is in the range of 17,500 Btu's/lb. Actual Foamular insulation product potential heat is a function of density and thickness as well as the potential heat of raw polystyrene. Assuming a minimum product density as specified in ASTM C578, "Standard Specification for Rigid, Cellular Polystyrene Thermal Insulation", and thickness as shown, Foamular XPS product potential heat in Btu's/sf is estimated in the following table.

  Foamular Product
Potential Heat, btu/lb per NFPA 259 17500 150 250 400 600 1000
Minimum Density, pcf per ASTM C578   1.30 1.55 1.80 2.20 3.0
  Foamular Product Potential Heat, Btu's/sf
  150 250 400 600 1000
Foamular Thickness, inch 0.5" 948 1130 1313 1604 2188
  1" 1896 2260 2625 3208 4375
  1.5" 2844 3391 3938 4813 6563
  2" 3792 4521 5250 6417 8750
  2.5" 4740 5651 6563 8021 10938
  3" 5688 6781 7875 9625 13125
  3.5" 6635 7911 9188 11229 15313
  4" 7583 9042 10500 12833 17500

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Environmental

Q: How do FOAMULAR® products help the environment?

A: Owens Corning manufactures FOAMULAR® and other building materials that save energy, reducing reliance on fossil fuels and decreasing greenhouse gas emissions around the world. Building insulation is one of the most cost-effective energy and greenhouse gas reduction technologies in the world.

Owens Corning is well positioned to help address global climate change through the increased energy efficiency gained from the use of many of the products it produces and the reduction in Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions that occur when consumers use those products including FOAMULAR®.

Q: What blowing agent is used to produce FOAMULAR® products?

A: All Owens Corning Foamular plants in the U.S. and Canada produce Foamular products using a proprietary blend of blowing agents which allow Owens Corning to manufacture Foamular products with Zero Ozone Depletion Potential and approximately 70% less Global Warming Potential than the blowing agents used before our blowing agent conversion in 2009.

Q: Where can I find Material Safety Data Sheets for FOAMULAR®?

A: Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) are available on this website. Click on “Products” in the main menu on the left, and then click on any “FOAMULAR® Product” in the chart. Find the MSDS link near the bottom of each product page.

Q: Are any FOAMULAR® products classified as hazardous substances?

A: No.

Q: What data is available for VOC emitting levels for FOAMULAR® polystyrene products?

A: FOAMULAR® is currently the only extruded polystyrene insulation product that is GREENGUARD® Indoor Air Quality Certified by the GREENGUARD Environmental Institute under the GREENGUARD Standard for Low Emitting Products. See the Sustainability section of this website, and the GREENGUARD Indoor Air Quality Certification for complete details.

Q: Does FOAMULAR® contain formaldehyde?

A: Formaldehyde is not an ingredient in the formulation for producing FOAMULAR® products. FOAMULAR® is currently the only extruded polystyrene insulation product that is GREENGUARD® Indoor Air Quality Certified by the GREENGUARD Environmental Institute under the GREENGUARD Standard for Low Emitting Products. See the Sustainability section of this website, and the GREENGUARD Indoor Air Quality Certification for complete details.

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Properties and Warranties

Q: Why should I select FOAMULAR® insulation?

A: FOAMULAR® is recognized for its long-term stable R-value of 5 per inch of thickness. FOAMULAR® Extruded Polystyrene Insulation is also valued for its excellent resistance to moisture, in the many forms that it is present in and around construction, and its ability to retain its properties in the presence of moisture.

Q: What is the long-term performance of FOAMULAR® in construction applications?

A: FOAMULAR® is recognized for its long-term stable R-value of 5 per inch of thickness. FOAMULAR® Extruded Polystyrene Insulation is also valued for its excellent resistance to moisture, in the many forms that it is present in and around construction, and its ability to retain its properties in the presence of moisture.

Q: Are FOAMULAR® insulation products warranted?

A: Yes. FOAMULAR® is warranted to be free from defects in material and/or workmanship, and to meet the physical property requirements of ASTM C578 and CAN/ULC S701. It is warranted to retain the physical properties advertised at the time of purchase for 20 years from the date of manufacture. In addition, it is warranted to retain 90 percent (%) of its advertised R-value for 20 years from the date of manufacture.

Q: What is R-value?

A: R-value is the measure of resistance to heat flow for a single material like insulation, or, for an assembly of materials like a wall or roof. The higher the R-value (resistance), the greater the insulating power. R-value is expressed in units of ºF·ft²·h/Btu (K·m²/W). For assemblies, the sum of the R-values of the components in the assembly, total R = 1/U.

Q: What is the R-value of FOAMULAR® insulation?

A: Manufactured to comply with ASTM C578 type categories, the minimum R-value* is 5 per inch of thickness,

* Thermal resistance, 1.00 inch (25.4-mm) thickness, minimum, ºF·ft²·h/Btu (K·m²/W), measured at a mean temperature of 75 + or - 2ºF (24 + or - 1ºC). R-value per inch of thickness at other mean temperatures: 5.6 at 25 ºF, 5.4 at 40 ºF. Measured in accordance with ASTM C518.

Q: What is U-value?

A: U-value is a measure of the actual heat transmission through a building assembly such as a wall or roof. Lower U-value indicates lower heat transmission, or, better insulating value. U = 1/R. U-value is expressed in units of Btu/hr-sq ft ºF. (W/m² ºC)

Q: What is “reflective R-value” in insulation?

A: “Reflective R” is a reference to a method that insulation may use to resist the transfer of heat. It only works if the insulation 1) has a reflective surface, and, 2) if conditions are right in the construction to allow “reflective R” to work. The conditions are, the reflective surface must be adjacent to a dead air space that is bounded by smooth parallel surfaces, and, the reflective surface must remain clean and intact over time. Heat transfer occurs via three modes: conduction (molecule to molecule through solids), convection (air currents), and radiation (infra-red “beams”). Since radiation transfer travels like a “beam” of energy, it can be minimized by having many surfaces interrupt a "clear view" of travel, like the fibers in fiber glass batt insulation, or the cell walls in foam insulation. Or, radiation transfer can be minimized by highly reflective surfaces on either side of an adjacent air space that reflect radiant energy away from a surface, or, that reduce the emission of radiation from the other side. That is “reflective R-value”. Quantifying performance of “reflected R” is the subject of some controversy and confusion in the building industry because of the factors that may minimize its effectiveness in real construction.

Q: Does FOAMULAR® claim reflective R-values?

A: No. Reflective claims are not made because, 1) FOAMULAR® is not produced with a reflective facer surface, and, 2) typically FOAMULAR®, and foam plastics in general, are used in applications where the real-life construction conditions are not consistent with the laboratory conditions necessary for “reflective R” to be effective.

Q: Why is the long term thermal resistance rating (LTTR), or the “thin slice method” (CAN/ULC S770), used by Polyisocyanurate Manufacturer’s Association (PIMA) not a preferred method to test thermal performance?

A: CAN/ULC S770 is not preferred because it has been shown in several studies to over-predict aged R-value or LTTR. Some foam insulations have a closed cell structure filled with a blowing agent gas specifically selected for its low thermal conductivity to enhance the thermal performance of the foam insulation board. Over a long period of time (50 to 75 years), a portion of the blowing agent diffuses through the thickness of the foam, replaced by air that diffuses into the cell structure. Because of this gas movement, the overall thermal resistance (R-value) of the insulation product decreases over time. This phenomenon is typically called 'aging'.

Accurately identifying the aged R-value of all foam plastic insulation products is important because, 1) designers need accurate long term thermal performance data to determine the heating and cooling loads for buildings and appliances, and, 2) insulation products are compared to one another based on price and thermal performance.

Q: What is the compressive strength of FOAMULAR® insulation?

A: Manufactured to comply with ASTM C578 type categories, the minimum compressive strengths in pounds per square inch (psi) are noted below per product/type:

FOAMULAR®150 Type X 15 psi min.
FOAMULAR® 250 Type IV 25 psi min.
FOAMULAR® 400 Type VI 40 psi min.
FOAMULAR® 600 Type VII 60 psi min.
FOAMULAR® 1000 Type V 100 psi min.

Q: What are the densities of FOAMULAR® insulation products?

A: Manufactured to comply with ASTM C578 type categories, the minimum densities in pounds per cubic foot (pcf) are noted below per product/type:

FOAMULAR® 150 Type X 1.30 pcf min.
FOAMULAR® 250 Type IV 1.55 pcf min.
FOAMULAR® 400 Type VI 1.80 pcf min.
FOAMULAR® 600 Type VII 2.20 pcf min.
FOAMULAR® 1000 Type V 3.00 pcf min.

Q: What is the weight per square foot of FOAMULAR® insulation?

A: Based on minimum densities as prescribed by ASTM C578, the typical weight in pounds per square foot (psf) per board foot (12” x 12” x1”) for FOAMULAR® products is shown below:

FOAMULAR® 150 0.12 psf
FOAMULAR® 250 0.13 psf
FOAMULAR® 400 0.15 psf
FOAMULAR® 600 0.18 psf
FOAMULAR® 1000 0.25 psf

Q: What is the maximum use temperature for FOAMULAR® products?

A: FOAMULAR® is not recommended for use where sustained temperatures exceed 165 ºF. Do not use it in contact with surfaces such as pipes or chimneys that have temperatures over 150 ºF.

Q: What cutting methods are recommended for FOAMULAR® application?

A: FOAMULAR® can be cut using several techniques. Using a razor knife and a straight edge, the board can be lightly scored, and then snapped along the score line. Or, FOAMULAR® boards can be cut using a hand saw or circular saw. Or, thermoplastic FOAMULAR® can be cut with a hot wire cutter. When cutting FOAMULAR®, always use eye protection to guard against small particles that may be thrown during cutting.

Q: Can FOAMULAR® be cut with a hot wire?

A: Yes. FOAMULAR® is an extruded polystyrene product. Polystyrene is thermoplastic and can be cut with a hot wire cutter.

Q: What is the water vapor permeance of FOAMULAR® insulation?

A: Manufactured to comply with ASTM C578 type categories, the maximum water vapor permeance (WVP) is 1.1 perm for a 1” thickness. Actual WVP values decrease as thickness increases. For 2” thick FOAMULAR® 150 and 250, WVP = 0.70. For 3” thick FOAMULAR® 150 and 250, WVP = 0.60 perm. WVP is measured in accordance with ASTM E96.

Q: Does FOAMULAR® promote mold or mildew growth?

A: No. Untreated, unfaced FOAMULAR® was tested according to ASTM Method C665-98 and C1338-00. This is a 28 day comparative test to determine whether insulation materials support no greater growth of fungi than the surrounding materials of the structure being insulated. For ASTM Method C1338-00, five fungal cultures are used: Aspergillus niger (American Type Culture Collection 9642), Aspergillus versicolor (ATCC 11730), Chaetomium globosum (ATCC 6205), Aspergillus flavus (ATCC 9643) and Penicillium funiculosum (ATCC 11 797). Microscopic examination of the test insulation material after 28 days incubation showed no fungal growth.

That said, mold and mildew can grow on any surface if mold spores (abundant in the environment), adequate temperature (40º to 100º F), food (such as dust films), and moisture, are present. Mold spores, temperature and dust are beyond our control. So, the key is to choose insulation materials such as FOAMULAR® extruded polystyrene that resist water absorption and accumulation.

Q: What is the standard FOAMULAR® truck shipment?

A: The amount of FOAMULAR® carried per truck varies by the size and thickness of the product. For complete details see the Owens Corning publication “Packaging and Truck Loading Data Sheet”, Pub. No. 23501-D available on the “Products” page of this website.

Q: What are the storage requirements for FOAMULAR®?

A: FOAMULAR® unit packaging is designed to minimize water and ultraviolet light intrusion. Outside storage is permissible provided the FOAMULAR® remains in its as delivered unit wrapping. FOAMULAR® has a true closed cell structure and is composed of hydrophobic polystyrene, making it highly resistant to water absorption. However, FOAMULAR® (polystyrene) is sensitive to extended UV exposure therefore it should remain in its original wrapping until installed. Extended outside storage may lead to the accumulation of moisture in the folds of the unit wrapping. Although FOAMULAR® itself is not harmed by moisture, the collected moisture over time, combined with jobsite dirt and dust, may lead to the growth of mold and mildew in the wrapping or on the FOAMULAR®. FOAMULAR® does not support the growth of mold/mildew, but, the accumulation of jobsite dirt, moisture and higher temperatures will encourage mold/mildew to grow in or on the packaged unit.

Some rigid foam insulation products are highly susceptible to water absorption, and may have warranty exclusions if stored outside or exposed to moisture. Check and compare to the FOAMULAR® warranty that has no such exclusions.

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